“I would define a lost movie as one where the master materials (such as camera negative, interpositive, or even a digital file) are missing, or a film for which the rights are no longer clear (either by copyright, bankruptcy, underlying rights, or contract expiration), or as I describe it, distributor indifference. To explain the last category, there are thousands of films that studios, distributors and rights holders just don’t have in active distribution because they don’t see a financial advantage to releasing them. ”
Talking to Allison Anders and Peter Riegert who are part of a group called Missing Movies, who aim to try to reclaim some of these old movies that have been lost as we’ve gone on with various technologies.
Missing Movies, a nonprofit organization that seeks to publicize the problem of films that are unavailable for broadcast and home entertainment release due to rights/clearance issues, lack of available materials or “distributor indifference,” has published a list of the most sought-after films that are out of view.
The group has chosen its top 101 (mostly North American) films that they hope will become more readily available this year, according to Missing Movies. The list includes features such as Robert Duval’s Angelo, My Love, Vernon Zimmerman’s Deadhead Miles, Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid, Liz White’s Othello and Allen Baron’s Terror in the City, and documentaries including Jim Brown’s The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time, Bob Dylan’s Eat the Document, Frederick Wiseman’s The Garden, and Marcels Ophuls’s The Memory of Justice.
With the launch of their 101 Missing Movies list, we talk to the founders and advisers—including Allison Anders, Mary Harron, Joe Dante and more—of a ﬁlm lovers’ collective working to save lost ﬁlms.
I was all the happier, then, when I read Vanity Fair’s article on the Missing Movies collective, founded this year – which, though it has adopted a fairly small number of mostly American films for now (though it announces that it wants to expand into other territories), proposes a model of film lobbying that would make it easier to digitally watch an out-of-print/distribution film through legal channels.
A consortium of film artists and professionals is working to save great films that have fallen into obscurity, one reel at a time.
Films such as The Heartbreak Kid and I Shot Andy Warhol remain unavailable on any platform but a new initiative is aiming to change that.
A noble endeavour which should correct distortions in our view of film history
Exclusive: The organization sets out to deconstruct the gatekeeping around film preservation in a post-VHS world.